FAQ

Applying to TRANSFORM

How do I apply?

You can apply to TRANSFORM by submitting your ideas through the TRANSFORM platform. You must register an account in order to apply and submit an idea.

To submit an idea once registered, click on ‘APPLY’ at the top left of the platform page. This will take you to the Application Form. Complete the requested fields, ensuring your project idea meets the specific criteria. Each field is accompanied by ‘HELP’ text for further information. When the Application Form is complete, click ‘SUBMIT’, or ‘SUBMIT AND CREATE ANOTHER’ if you have another idea that you would like to submit.

Once submitted, your application will be redirected to the TRANSFORM team for an initial screening to check its suitability for review and whether it contains any obscenities.

You can click ‘SAVE DRAFT’ to complete and submit your idea at a later date. Please note that attached files are not saved, so you will need to add your attachments before submitting your idea. You can access draft applications by visiting ‘MY AREA’ which you will find at the top right of the platform page. Click ‘EDIT’, complete the Application Form and submit it as detailed above.

Please check the Application Guidelines here for more detail.

What information do I need to provide to apply?

To apply, you need to provide the following information through the Application Form:

  • Project Name – Give your project a name. Choose a name that clearly encompasses the key elements of the project to generate interest.
  • Executive Summary – Provide a summary of your idea, highlighting how it supports TRANSFORM's goal to deliver market-based solutions for low income households in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
  • Tags – Tags make it easier for others to discover your idea, so we encourage you to add them. The best tags are one-word themes from your idea. Try typing in key words. If tags already exist with the same few first letters, the system will auto-fill those options. A tag must not contain spaces, accents, or special characters (e.g., '," etc.).
  • Public or Private – Public ideas become available for everyone in the community to view, like and comment upon after the SUITABILITY CHECK. The whole community can collaborate on your idea. Private ideas will only be available for the TRANSFORM team. Once either public or private status is selected, it cannot be changed.
  • Name of Lead Applicant and Name of Lead Organisation proposed to receive funding– Insert the name of the lead applicant for your submission. This individual will be the contact person for your submission. Also, please insert the name of the organisation(s) proposed to receive funding and support from TRANSFORM. Please note that TRANSFORM can only fund incorporated organisations.
  • Sustainable development goals impacted – List the sustainable development goals (with their name) that will be most impacted by the project. 
  • Main Country of impact – Insert the country(ies) your solution will impact the most. Impact should be created in one or more of the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) priority countries. Please find a drop-down list of eligible countries on the Application Form.
  • Total funding requested (£) – Detail the total cash funding you are requesting.
  • Matching Contribution (£) – List any matching cash or in-kind contribution, including from whom.
  • Background – Provide background information to support your application on the organisation(s) delivering the project and its impact date, and also, the innovation or project proposed to receive support from TRANSFORM and what stage it is in.
  • Opportunity – Describe the specific project proposed to receive funding and support from TRANSFORM.
  • The Opportunity - Sustainable Development impact – Describe how this project will support you in Sustainable development impact (How will the project meet low-income household needs? Based on what you know so far, how many direct and indirect beneficiaries do you expect to reach by 2025 through the project? How will you define direct and indirect beneficiaries? How will you measure your impact? How will your project change behaviours? How will you ensure women, people with disabilities and other excluded groups are reached in an equitable manner?.)
  • The Opportunity - Business impact – Describe how this project will support you in terms of Business impact (How will the project help create a profitable business whilst serving the base of the pyramid? What is your revenue model and when is your business projected to be financially sustainable? How will you cover your operating costs?)
  • The Opportunity - Scale impact – Describe how this project will support you in Scale impact (If your project was to be successful, how would it unlock opportunities to scale your idea beyond TRANSFORM? Have you identified potential future funding sources?)
  • The Opportunity - TRANSFORM Relevance – Demonstrate why the project should be supported by TRANSFORM specifically (Are there synergies with one of TRANSFORM’s partners?)

Please check the Application Guidelines here for more detail.

What are the stages of the application process?

There are six stages:

  1. Application Creation;
  2. Application Submission and Criteria Screening;
  3. Application Review;
  4. Full Proposal Submission;
  5. Full Proposal Review;
  6. Final Evaluation.

An idea will change status depending on its progress through the stages, as described in the ‘ABOUT TRANSFORM’ page.

1. APPLICATION CREATION

This is where Applicants compile and submit their initial ideas to TRANSFORM through the Application Form, and potentially revise their ideas based on input from the community. The Applicant must decide whether they want to make their idea Public or Private.

  • Public – The idea has been submitted and will go through a SUITABILITY CHECK to assess whether the Application is suitable for review and whether it contains any obscenities. Ideas deemed suitable will enter the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status where members of the community can comment upon and like each other’s ideas. Public ideas will benefit from input from the TRANSFORM community to develop and improve their applications, and gain initial exposure that could help the idea later on. Authors can edit their ideas throughout this status to incorporate suggestions from the community.
  • Private – The idea has been submitted and will remain invisible to the community. Ideas with a private status will only be available to their Author and the TRANSFORM team. Suitability Check – Once submitted, all Applications will pass through to the SUITABILITY CHECK to check for any obscenities. The Application will soon change status to DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION, where it will be available for collaboration by the community.
  • Develop in Collaboration – If the idea is public, the idea is now available for collaboration. Everyone in the community will be able to comment upon and like it. Authors can improve their ideas based on the community's feedback by editing them on the idea detail page.
  • Stage 1 – Unsuccessful – Unfortunately, on this occasion, the idea has been unsuccessful and will not progress to the next stage.

2. APPLICATION SUBMISSION AND CRITERIA SCREENING

Once the Application Form is finalised and, in the case of Public ideas, developed in collaboration with the community, the Application is submitted to TRANSFORM to assess whether it meets TRANSFORM’s criteria.

  • Application Submission – Once submitted and as appropriate, moved through the SUITABILITY CHECK and DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION statuses, the idea will be officially submitted to go through CRITERIA SCREENING. CRITERIA SCREENING is undertaken by the TRANSFORM team to check whether the idea is in accordance with the established criteria.
  • Revise Application – The TRANSFORM team found that the idea needs some adjustments to proceed to the next stage. The Author has seven days to make changes and re-submit the idea. If revisions are needed, the platform will send an automatic notification. You can consult the TRANSFORM team suggestions and/or requirements when you log in and edit your idea.
  • Proceed to First Review – The idea has met the basic screening criteria and will proceed to the next stage of the selection process. It is now awaiting the APPLICATION REVIEW.
  • Stage 2Unsuccessful – Unfortunately, on this occasion, the idea has been unsuccessful and will not progress to the next stage as it was not updated within the deadline or is not in accordance with criteria.

3. APPLICATION REVIEW

Once the idea has met basic criteria, it is reviewed in more depth by experts to assess whether it aligns with TRANSFORM's aims.

  • Application Review – The idea is under review. Following the CRITERIA SCREENING, a detailed internal review is conducted to analyse the organisations that have the potential to operate in areas relevant to TRANSFORM partners’ expertise and capability, and where TRANSFORM’s partners can add value to the project’s development.
  • Application Review – Management Team – The idea is under review by the Management Team that will select organisations that have met the previous review's criteria. If revisions are needed, the platform will send an automatic notification with suggested revisions. You can consult the TRANSFORM team suggestions and/or requirements when you log in and edit your idea.
  • Proceed to Full Proposal – The idea has been successful at the APPLICATION REVIEW - Management Team stage and has been selected to proceed to the next phase of the selection process.
  • Stage 3 – Unsuccessful – Unfortunately, on this occasion, the idea has been unsuccessful and will not proceed to the next stage of the selection process.

4. FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

Once approved by internal reviewers, further detail on the proposal is requested.

  • Full Proposal Submission – The idea is in the FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION stage. This means that the Authors will be required to provide further details on their ideas and how they contribute to TRANSFORM’s aims. Applicants will be given access to an updated Application Form, and requested to fill in ALL fields for the relevant idea type.

5. FULL PROPOSAL REVIEW

The full proposal will be reviewed by internal reviewers.

  • Full Review – The idea is currently under review by a committee of reviewers, who will select the ideas that go on to the next status of the selection process based on the relevant criteria.
  • Proceed to Final Evaluation – The idea has been selected to proceed to the final stage of the selection process. However, the idea will be reviewed by a committee of external reviewers before moving on to the final stage.
  • Full Review – External – The idea is currently under review by a committee of external reviewers. The idea has been selected to proceed to the final stage of the selection process. No further updates to the proposal are required at this time.
  • Stage 5 – Unsuccessful - Unfortunately, on this occasion, the idea has been unsuccessful and will not proceed to the next stage of the selection process.

6. FINAL EVALUATION

The full proposal will be approved or unsuccessful.

  • Final Evaluation – The idea is now being evaluated by the final round of TRANSFORM governance, which is comprised of senior representatives of the programme.
  • Approved – The idea has been successful and has been selected to receive funding and support from TRANSFORM.
  • Stage 6 – Unsuccessful – Unfortunately, on this occasion, the idea has been unsuccessful and will not receive TRANSFORM funding and support.

When will my idea be available for collaboration?

Once an idea has been submitted and has passed through the SUITABILITY CHECK, all those deemed suitable and specified as public ideas, will enter the DEVELOP IN COLLABOATION status. Ideas will enter this status automatically once approved.

How long does an idea remain in the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status?

Ideas remain in collaboration until the end of the APPLICATION CREATION stage. The idea will be either submitted by the Author or automatically submitted once the deadline has passed, and will enter CRITERIA SCREENING. At this point, the idea will no longer be publicly available to the community.

How can I complete my idea in the FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION stage?

When your idea reaches FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION, you will be notified and will receive an email containing instructions on how to complete your proposal. The next step is to edit your idea, complete ALL fields for your idea type and re-submit your application. For detailed information on the requested fields for the full submission, please download more instructions here.

How can I find out the status of an idea?

Applicants can find all ideas and their statuses, by accessing the ‘IDEAS SUBMITTED’ menu and selecting a stage and status on the navigation bar on the right side of the page. By clicking on an idea, you can access its details page. Here, you can find its description as well as comments made on the idea. You can also consult the ‘IDEA HISTORY’ on the same page.

How can I find my ideas?

Participants can find their ideas through the ‘MY AREA’ section by selecting ‘IDEAS SUBMITTED’.

How can I find ideas by tags?

To search for an idea by its tag (keyword), simply type the ‘#’ symbol, followed by the tag in question in the top search bar of the TRANSFORM platform.

How many tags can I include in my idea?

There is a limit of 20 tags per idea.

Are ideas, comments and likes anonymous?

Public ideas are not anonymous, and the Author and the idea is visible to all Participants. Private ideas remain anonymous to all Participants, and only the Author and the TRANSFORM team can view them. Comments made on public ideas are not anonymous because the Participant’s profile name is visible. Likes on public ideas are anonymous.

Can Participants encourage colleagues to like and comment on their ideas?

Yes. When viewing an idea’s details, any Participant can click on ‘OPTIONS’, select the ‘SHARE’ option, and send a message to other Participants, inviting them to like and/or comment on the idea.

Can I change my idea?

The Applicant may make changes to an idea at the following stages:

  • APPLICATION CREATION – Applicants can edit their ideas based on comments received in the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status, before APPLICATION SUBMISSION AND CRITERIA SCREENING stage.
  • APPLICATION SUBMISSION AND CRITERIA SCREENING – Applicants can edit their ideas once they have received instructions to REVISE APPLICATION according to suggestions from the TRANSFORM team.
  • FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION – Applicants must complete their submissions to proceed to the FINAL EVALUATION.

To edit an idea, click on the ‘MY AREA’ menu and click on ‘IDEAS SUBMITTED’. Enter the idea you want to update and click ‘EDIT’. Only an idea’s content can be edited. Comments and likes will not be affected when you edit an idea.

Can I delete ideas?

No, this is not possible. If you want to delete an idea, Applicants should contact the TRANSFORM team via the contact information in the ‘?’ section followed by the ‘CONTACT US’ menu, which is on the top bar next to your profile photo.

Funding and Support

How can I receive TRANSFORM's funding and support for my project?

Only ideas that fulfil all the requirements and move through all evaluation stages will have access to funding and support. After the FINAL EVALUATION, only the Authors of approved projects will have access to funding and support.

What funding and support is available for approved projects?

Applicants of approved projects will receive funding from £100,000 up to £300,000, released according to key milestones. The projects can last up to 24 months. The projects must be in line with the defined criteria, and create impact in the agreed geographies. Approved projects will also receive technical assistance from a dedicated Project Lead and access to opportunities to collaborate with other teams in Unilever depending on the project.

If my idea is selected, how will the funding and support be delivered?

TRANSFORM will assign a dedicated Project Lead to support with the creation and validation of milestones required to release funding. This dedicated Project Lead will also coordinate technical assistance and opportunities to collaborate with other teams in Unilever, and act as TRANSFORM’s main point of contact throughout the partnership.

Is the funding and support available all at once or in instalments?

The funding and support is released according to key milestones so it is delivered in instalments. These milestones will be developed by the organisation and TRANSFORM Project Lead. Each phase of funding will only be released once the Project Lead confirms the relevant milestone has been met.

How can I receive the full amount available?

TRANSFORM offers grants from £100,000 up to £300,000. The amount awarded to projects depends on information provided in the Application process. Funding proposals should be for a defined project scope and/or clear capacity-building requirements. Funding requirements should be clearly budgeted, as per the Application instructions.

What support is available?

The support provided consists of technical assistance provided by a dedicated Project Lead and other resources, as appropriate. The main capabilities available include project management by the Project Lead, marketing, customer development, research and development, supply chain management and distribution as well as specialist expertise e.g. behaviour change. Specific project needs will be assessed and technical assistance matched accordingly.

When will the funding and support be available for approved projects?

Funding and support will be available to approved projects once legal contracts have been signed, and key milestones set.

Do I need to trade any equity in return for the funding and support received?

No, the organisation does not need to trade any equity in return for the funding and support received.

If I do not have a registered company yet, will I be eligible to receive funding and support from TRANSFORM?

You may submit an application before your company is registered. However, if approved to receive TRANSFORM funding and support you will need to register and incorporate your organisation prior to receiving funding. You will also require a dedicated company/organisational bank account. We cannot disburse funds to personal bank accounts.

Is my company eligible to receive funding and support even if we are not registered in the regions of impact and have other projects in different regions?

Your organisation can be registered anywhere in the world (except Russia) but should create impact in the listed priority countries. Please find a list of eligible countries in the Application Form. If approved, all organisations will be subject to a due diligence screening process prior to release of funds. All funding decisions and disbursement of funds will be conditional.

What is the due diligence process that my organisation will be expected to go through to receive funding and support?

TRANSFORM requires company information from organisations as part of its due diligence process to ensure TRANSFORM funds and support is only used in its intended capacity, and does not support criminal or terrorism related activities. TRANSFORM requires all partner organisations to provide scans of the original documents below:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Governing documents
  • Proof of company bank account
  • Three years of financial accounts – Audited or unaudited
  • For organisations established within the past three years, we ask for the financial accounts spanning the years of the organisation’s operation
  • The latest management accounts
  • Governance arrangements including details of Directors
  • Information on processes to counter internal security threats  Additional checks are then undertaken to review the information provided to complete the assessment of the suitability of the organisation to receive TRANSFORM funding and support.

What happens if our venture is unsuccessful?

We regret that we are unable to provide individual feedback for applications. We encourage you to apply to future TRANSFORM challenges and to continue your participation in the TRANSFORM community.

Collaboration

How can I collaborate on other users’ ideas?

You can collaborate in two ways:
     1) Liking ideas
     2) Commenting on ideas and leaving questions and/or suggestions for improvements.

Click on the ‘COLLABORATE’ button at the top right side of the platform to view all ideas that are currently available for collaboration. The list shows all ideas in the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status from all challenges. These are the ideas that have been designated as Public ideas. To view a narrower list filtered by challenge, you can navigate through ideas by clicking on the ‘CHALLENGES’ menu.

The list of ideas in collaboration will be constantly updated and Participants will be able to like and comment on all the public ideas. Ideas are available for collaboration until the end of the APPLICATION CREATION stage. Private ideas will not be available to the community to view or collaborate on.

LIKES

How do I like an idea?

Only ideas in the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status can receive likes. By entering the idea detail page, Participants can read the idea description as well as its comments. In the evaluation area, Participants may view the number of likes the idea has received. To submit your like, simply click on the ‘LIKE’ button.

Can I like an idea more than once?

You can only like a specific idea once.

Can I cancel my like?

Yes, it is possible to cancel your like by clicking on the ‘LIKE’ button again, to undo.

Can I like my own ideas?

Authors are not allowed to like their own ideas.

Can I earn Points by liking ideas?

No, liking ideas does not award points to Participants. For more details, check out the Points section below.

COMMENTS

How do I comment on an idea?

All ideas have an associated discussion forum within the idea detail page in the Comments section. This feature allows Participants to publish their comments on a specific idea while it is in DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status.

Insights can also be commented upon. Insights are views and thoughts (e.g. news articles, commentaries etc.) that are shared on the platform and that may inspire Participants in the creation of ideas for active challenges. Within an Insight page, the discussion forum can be found in the Comments section.

How do I find my comments?

To find your comments, you must first access the ‘MY AREA’ menu and then go to ‘ACTIVITY’. In the filter option, choose the action type ‘COMMENTS’ and you will find them listed below.

Can I edit or delete my comments?

It is not possible to edit comments, but it is possible for the Author of the comment to delete it if there is no activity related to the comment (i.e. there are no replies or likes). You cannot delete other Participants’ comments.

How can I like comments?

To like a comment, click ‘LIKE’ in the comment box. You can undo this action if you change your mind.

Can I report an abusive comment?

Yes. Please click in the ‘OPTIONS’ menu in the comment box and select ‘REPORT’. A message will be sent to the TRANSFORM team, who will consider taking action.

Can I earn Points by commenting on an idea/insight?

Yes, if it is an added value comment. For more details, check out the Points section below.

Points

Points are awarded according to a Participant’s activity on the TRANSFORM platform. Participants can earn points for their ideas and comments, and can compare their activity against other users on the ‘COMMUNITY’ page. Points are intended to encourage participation and collaboration to support the development of highly innovative ideas.

How can I earn points?

Points are awarded by participating on the TRANSFORM platform e.g. sharing ideas or commenting on other people’s ideas. See the table below for the various ways in which you can receive points.

Points obtained from the submission of ideas and comments

Insights

What is an insight?

Insights are views and thoughts (e.g. news articles, commentaries etc.) that are shared and that may inspire Participants in the creation of ideas for active challenges in the TRANSFORM platform. An insight can be:

  • News, articles or research data or other relevant information related to the challenge.
  • A benchmark related to what other organisations are developing around the proposed theme.
  • Good practices or key skills that can influence and/or support the process of creating ideas.

Reviews

Who will review the ideas at the APPLICATION REVIEW , FULL REVIEW and FINAL EVALUATION?

The ideas will be reviewed by a committee of reviewers, who will select the ideas that go on to the next stage of the selection process. The committee of reviewers will have relevant expertise, and will include representatives from TRANSFORM partners and independent experts. 

What are the evaluation criteria for reviews?

The ideas will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: Has the potential to create revenue streams and to be operationally sustainable.
  • LOW-INCOME NEEDS: Meets the needs of low-income consumers.
  • GEOGRAPHY: Creates impact in the agreed fund geographies.
  • SCALE: Has the potential to reach scale by 2025.
  • INNOVATIVE SOLUTION: Addresses the challenge in a new way.
  • TRACK RECORD: the organisation has a strong track record and local capability.
  • RELEVANCE TO PARTNER CAPABILITIES: The project aligns with TRANSFORM's partners.

How many ideas will be selected at each stage?

There is no limit to the number of ideas selected at each stage, and all valid and worthy ideas will be considered. However, the final number of approved projects will depend on funding available.

Will I get feedback on my idea?

No. TRANSFORM will not release feedback to Applicants. The only feedback will be those public comments made by other members of the community, or when specific revisions for your application are requested by TRANSFORM.

Is there a ranking of ideas that I can consult?

No. There is no ranking of ideas that Applicants can consult. However, Participants are ranked according to their collaboration and participation in the community, as per the points system.

Profile

How do I change my user profile?

To modify your personal data, click on the link with your profile picture (upper right hand corner), then click on ‘EDIT PROFILE’. Adjust your personal data fields (e.g. your email) and click ‘SAVE’. 

How do I add favourite tags in my profile?

To add favourite tags, go to your profile picture (upper right hand corner) and click on ‘EDIT PROFILE’. In the ‘FAVOURITE TAGS’ field, type the topics of your interest and click ‘SAVE’.

NOTIFICATIONS 

How can I subscribe to receive platform notifications?

The TRANSFORM platform sends out a range of activity related notifications. You can select the notifications you wish to receive by clicking on your profile picture at the upper right hand corner of the platform, and then selecting ‘EDIT PROFILE’. Scroll to the bottom, and select the boxes for the notifications you wish to receive.

Which notifications can I receive and what is their purpose?

  • TRANSFORM - New idea for collaboration – Sent to all subscribers when an idea enters the DEVELOP IN COLLABORATION status and becomes available for comments and likes.
  • TRANSFORM - Your idea status changed – Sent to all subscribers when the Author’s idea moves forward along the workflow (by changing its status).
  • TRANSFORM - New comment on your idea – Sent to the Author when a new comment is posted on their idea. There are also notifications related to user Registration and Password Recovery.

What do the ‘Internal’ and ‘Email’ labels mean when I am selecting the notification I want to receive?

Selecting ‘INTERNAL’ means that you will receive the message in your TRANSFORM platform inbox. To check your inbox, click on the link with your profile picture (upper right hand corner) and then on ‘INBOX’. Selecting the ‘EMAIL’ channel directs the notification to the email address detailed on your profile page.

Contact

If you have any questions or issues, please report them to the TRANSFORM team by contacting TRANSFORM through the platform. You will find the ‘CONTACT US’ link at the top right hand side of the platform page, under the ‘?’ icon.